Christopher Newport University
May 2013   
In This Issue
Ferguson's Gift
Commencement Exercises
Luter Hall
Class of 2017
New CNU Flag
Gates Cambridge Scholarship
University Fellows
Leadership Awards
Academic Bowl
New CNU License Plate
Athletics Roundup
Ferguson Center Bravo Series
Alumni Corner
CNU Photos
Ferguson's $12 Million Commitment


Last week, Ferguson Enterprises renewed support for the Ferguson Center for the Arts and Christopher Newport University. 


Ferguson's commitment of $12 million will enable us to sustain the programming excellence and success of the Ferguson Center and create two transformative opportunities for our students by supporting scholarships in the performing arts and service in our community.  This is the largest donation in our 51 year history!

  • $10 million will provide support for the Ferguson Center's operations and programs.
  • $1 million will create the Ferguson Enterprises Performing Arts Scholarships to provide support for full-time students in music, theater and dance. These scholarships will enable CNU to recruit and retain students of extraordinary talent with an ongoing commitment to academic and artistic excellence.  An important expectation of Ferguson Scholars is that they will engage in service opportunities - sharing their talent and intelligence in creative ways throughout our community.
  • $1 million will provide support for the Center for Community Engagement.  Ferguson has partnered with CNU's Center for Community Engagement for several years, particularly through the support of local internships.  Through these internships, Ferguson supports experiential learning opportunities for students to serve the citizens of our community and Commonwealth.

For more than a decade, because of the vision and leadership of CEOs David Peebles, Charlie Banks, Chip Hornsby and Frank Roach, Ferguson and Christopher Newport University have formed and sustained a marvelous partnership.  That partnership created a model for corporations and institutions of higher education in making a difference in the quality of life for Virginia and for exponentially increasing the educational experience for students.


CNU is immensely grateful for our longstanding partnership with Ferguson and for Ferguson's strong support through the years.


Ferguson is a model for good corporate citizenship.  Ferguson encourages its associates to actively engage in the communities where they live and work and contribute generously to the success of those communities and the company leads the way.


You can read the Daily Press editorial here.

Commencement 2013


Every year at graduation we invite as our speaker a person who has lived a life of success and significance. Our commencement speaker this year will be Larry Pope, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield Foods, one of America's largest and most respected corporations.


Smithfield Foods was founded in 1936 and has grown from a small meat packing company located on the banks of the historic Pagan River in Smithfield, Virginia into a $13 billion global food company employing more than 53,000 people worldwide.


Smithfield Foods is not only a highly successful international company but is also a good citizen. For the 12th consecutive year, Smithfield Foods has been named by Fortune magazine as one of America's Most Admired Companies. Smithfield Foods has been honored for its social responsibility and environmental policies and for its generosity in supporting humanitarian purposes.


Smithfield Foods and the Smithfield Luter Foundation have been strong and generous supporters of CNU. The Smithfield Leadership Scholars Program provides scholarships for hundreds of our students.


Larry and Mary are also personally committed to making a difference. The chapel at CNU is named in honor of Larry and Mary Pope because of their caring hearts and remarkable generosity. We are honored to have Larry Pope as our commencement speaker on May 11th.


We look forward to welcoming  CNU's family and friends as we honor this year's graduates on the Great Lawn. For complete event details and schedules, please visit

Joseph W. Luter III Hall Set to Open
Our faculty and staff will move into Luter Hall shortly after commencement. The Administration Building (lower right) will be demolished in July to make way for the new Student Success Center. 


Class of 2017


Christopher Newport University continues to be a first choice for the best and brightest students in America. The incoming class boasts stellar academic credentials and more and more students are choosing CNU because they share our passion for leadership and engagement. 


Over the past year a record number of prospective students and their families have visited our campus and participated in admission events, tours and interviews. 


This year we received more than 7,000 applications and will welcome a class of 1,250 outstanding students. This class earned a high school grade point average of 3.78 and an SAT score of nearly 1,200 (critical reading and mathematics).


Almost 400 students have committed to the President's Leadership Program. These young men and women have a high school grade point average of 3.98 and an SAT score of 1,254 (critical reading and mathematics).


We look forward to welcoming the class of 2017 to our beautiful campus.    

Captains Spirit



I invite you to join me in proudly displaying the CNU colors! This beautiful flag is now available in the Captains Locker and can be ordered by clicking on

 Alumna Wins Prestigious Scholarship

We celebrate the selection of CNU alumna Erin Plisco ('09) for the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. This award covers all costs to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in England. This fall Erin will begin the master of music in choral studies program at Cambridge, a storied and ancient university with an 800-year history of  renowned scholarship. A mere 90 Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded each year to students from around the globe -- young people who are intellectually gifted and have demonstrated a talent for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. The program was established in 2000 by a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Erin Plisco and Dr. Rachel Holland

At Cambridge, Erin will study with some of the finest choirs in the world and learn from leading musicologists. She will work closely with the Trinity College, Kings College and St. John's choirs -- legendary ensembles that have performed around the world and recorded some of the most cherished vocal music in existence. She will also have the opportunity to conduct these artists in performance, and to undertake a scholarly project culminating in the production of a previously unpublished work.


We wish Erin the best as she embarks on this great overseas adventure this fall.
New University Fellows Appointed

McMurran w people for newsletterEach year the University offers outstanding graduating seniors the opportunity to give back to their alma mater and work for one year as a CNU Fellow. These coveted positions are awarded to students who have contributed mightily to our success over their four years on campus. Following a formal application and rigorous interview process, they are selected to serve in one of four important areas: Admission, President's Leadership Program, Student Success and Student Engagement. These alumni love this place and are eager to pay forward the benefits of their own rich college experience.


CNU Admission Fellows interview prospective students, conduct admission presentations and travel to high schools and events to recruit future students. President's Leadership Program Fellows bring the fresh perspective of recent graduates to participants and contribute to the program by building student relationships and developing leadership skills. Student Engagement and Student Success Fellows serve as mentors to current students and help them find their niche at CNU and achieve their goals both in and out of the classroom.


I want to thank the 2012-13 CNU Fellows, Sarah Cribb, Roy Fuller, 

Caroline Green, Brittany Haskell, Stephanie Henderson, 

Chelsea Huber, Jenny Keen, Laurel Manges, Paul Mikowski, 

Renee Okuda, Greg Rafal, Jaymie Tretreault and Julia Verona for their immense contributions to CNU and look forward to welcoming our next class of Fellows. 

2013-14 CNU Fellows

Kim Butler
Baricia Dumas
Ashley Figg
Ian Sonia
Zach Stevens
President's Leadership Program
Arrenvy Bilinski
Kim Purdy
Mary Ragan
Student Engagement
Wilson Bever
Alex Reiner
Student Success
Laura Little
Austin McKim
Student Leadership Awards
Dean's Service Award Winners
 From left: Ian Sonia, Erin Comerford, Alex Reiner, Stephanie Green and Keldie Chewning
Each year CNU proudly acknowledges the outstanding efforts of students, advisers and campus organizations that exemplify CNU's values. Leadership, service and honor in academic and co-curricular activities enrich the life of our campus and ensure an outstanding experience for all of our students. 

The highest honor, the Dean's Service Award, went to five seniors who have demonstrated exceptional service and leadership to our community. We congratulate this years winners, Ian, Erin, Alex, Stephanie, Keldie and all of the other honorees.    
Academic Bowl

academic bowl The Men of Vision and Excellence (M.O.V.E.) recently hosted the fourth annual Academic Bowl, continuing a fine campus tradition. Twelve teams of student organizations competed in a "Jeopardy"-style tournament for bragging rights and $200 in prize money.  This year the Math Club team made up of Andrew Garmon, Darius King-Rodman, Joe Baker, Matt Collins and Erik Branting took the top prize. The team's name will be engraved on the Founder's Cup on display in the Trible Library rotunda.


M.O.V.E.'s core tenets are academic excellence, campus involvement and community outreach. Members serve as mentors and tutors in elementary and middle schools, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, support CNU's Relay for Life effort, and work to promote academic success and cultural awareness on campus.   
My congratulations to all the members of M.O.V.E. and the many student organizations that participated in our annual academic bowl. 

New Captains License Plate
P trib plateA new Christopher Newport license plate is now available through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Show your Captains pride by ordering a set for your ride! The plates can be personalized with up to six characters.
The new plate is also part of the DMV's revenue-sharing program. After the sale of the first 1,000 qualifying plates, $15 of the $25 fee will be transferred to CNU to support scholarships for Virginia students -- a worthy cause.
Show your enthusiasm for CNU! For more information and to order the new plates, visit the DMV online.
Athletics Roundup
Women's Basketball 
Kelly Halverson
Kelly Halverson
The Captains amassed an impressive 29-3 overall record, reached the Elite-8 in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season No. 6 in the nation. The Captains hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at The Freeman Center, and beat previously undefeated Montclair State in the Sweet 16 before falling to eventual national champion DePauw University.

Senior Kelly Halverson graduates with 111 career victories and a 88.8% winning record.  Junior Tia Perry was named a second-team all-region player and averaged a team-high 14 points per game.
Men's Basketball
Nik Biberaj
For the first time since 2000-01, the Christopher Newport men's team picked up an NCAA Tournament victory, doing so on our home floor against Rutgers-Newark after capturing a second-straight USA South championship.
USA South Tournament MVP Nik Biberaj finished the season in remarkable fashion, leading the team in scoring in the final six games of the season. The sophomore averaged 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while adding 73 assists, second-most on the team. 

Junior Tra Benefield was named all-region after helping lead CNU to a 22-6 overall record. Benefield eclipsed the 1,000-point mark, becoming the 28th CNU player to reach that plateau. He is now 12th on the CNU all-time scoring list.

Ryann Fleischmann
Ryan Fleischmann

CNU ended the regular season with a 29-12-1 overall record. The team has been led by a dominant pitching staff, posting the lowest team ERA in school history, at 2.98. Junior Austin Chrismon leads the nation with 86 strikeouts and junior Bryan Bierlein ranks third nationally with 81. Senior Ryan Fleischmann set the USA South career saves record with 29, and ranks fourth all-time in NCAA Division III. This year, he's gone 11-for-11 in save opportunities, setting a new single season mark at CNU. 


Junior Justin Weaver batted over .400 and ranks among national leaders in runs batted in and walks. He headlined a record 10 All-Conference selections for CNU this year, and was named the USA South Player of the Year. Chrismon earned Pitcher of the Year and Brandon Taylor was named Rookie Pitcher of the Year.

Sabrina Hill

This year the Captains will once again return to the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament after dominating the USA South Athletic Conference Championships in four straight games and outscoring opponents 31-3. CNU closed the regular season with a seventh-straight 30-win season, going 15-1 down the stretch, and finishing 32-11 overall. 

Pitcher Krista Townsend was named USA South Tournament MVP. CNU has 11 All-Conference selections this year and Sabrina Hill was named USA South Player of the Year for the second season in a row. 

Women's Lacrosse
Ashton Marshall
Ashton Marshall

This year's womens lacrosse team is ranked 13th in the nation with an impressive 17-2 record and will play in the NCAA tournament after capturing an eighth straight USA South championship. CNU hosts Sewanee at Captains Turf Field on Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the first round. 


Led by USA South Player of the Year, junior Ashton Marshall, the Captains have set record marks with 333 goals and 183 assists. 

Marshall leads the attack with 70 goals and 17 assists, while Elena Obregon has set a new freshman record with 50 goals scored and 25 assists. CNU ranks among the national leaders across the board offensively and defensively.


Men's Lacrosse
John Thompson
John Thompson
For the first time in program history, the Christopher Newport men's lacrosse team will be making an appearance in the NCAA tournament as the Captains head to No. 4 Stevenson for a first round match on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
This season CNU set program records for points scored (222), assists (83) and save percentage (.578). John Thompson has had one of the finest seasons in program history, setting single game, season, and already, career record for assists. He was the Captains' leading scorer with 19 goals and 33 assists for 52 total points, also a school record.
Track and Field
Enuma Ezenwa
In their final meet as members of the Mason-Dixon Conference, the Christopher Newport outdoor track and field teams made a resounding statement as the Captains captured both the men's and women's league championships on Saturday afternoon at POMOCO Stadium.

Enuma Ezenwa led the way, earning Co-Track Athlete of the Meet honors.  Daulton Teaford also secured titles in both the men's 100 and 200.


Competition Cheerleading Team
The Christopher Newport University cheerleading team won the 2013 Capital Athletic Conference Cheerleading Championship, and finished second at the Cheer Ltd. College Open Nationals.

CNU Sailing has set new marks for success in 2012-13, competing against some of the best teams in the nation in the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA). Led by freshman skippers Ben Buhl and Oliver Ross, the Captains sailing team advanced to the MAISA America Trophy, while the women's team picked up a top-10 effort at the MAISA Spring Women's Championship.
Brian Jaeger
Brian Jaeger

Led by first-team All-Conference selection Brian Jaeger, the Captains finished second at the USA South Athletic Conference Golf Championship. Sophomore Scott Davidson also earned All-Conference honors, and finished the year with a 75 stroke average in his first year with the Captains. Jaeger, a senior, led the squad with a 73.5 average, tying the program record for low season average, while also setting a new low single round record (65) at the Camp LeJeune Intercollegiate Invitational in March.

CNU Storm
CNU StormCompeting with 300 cheer and dance teams, the Storm advanced to the finals and finished fifth in the nation! 
Kim Morrissett
Both the men's and women's teams reached the USA South Tournament Championship match. Senior Kim Morrissett broke the school record with 65 career victories in singles play and earned 50 wins in doubles. Five of the six women's tennis starters earned USA South honors. 


On the men's side, four players earned All-Conference honors, led by freshman Chiraag Shetty and senior Kyle Tobin as first-team selections. has complete athletics coverage, schedules and ticket information. 
Ferguson Center Announces 2013-14 Bravo Series
The incomparable Ferguson Center has announced the lineup for the outstanding Bravo Series. This year's program includes legendary artists from the world of classical music:
Irish Chamber Orchestra 
JoAnn Falletta, Conductor 
Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, Soloists 
Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8 p.m.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
Pinchas Zukerman, Principal Guest Conductor and Violin Soloist 
Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 8 p.m.

Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel  
Boguslaw Dawidow, Principal Guest Conductor 
Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Be sure to join the Ferguson Center's eclub and be among the first to learn about the upcoming Broadway Series and the rest of the incredible line-up coming to the Ferguson Center next season. For more information and tickets, please visit
Alumni Corner

This spring hundreds of alumni, parents and friends joined me at receptions in Charlottesville, Richmond and Springfield. These were great opportunities to report the good news from our campus, answer questions and hear wonderful stories of what has unfolded in the lives of our graduates. 


I invite everyone to connect with an alumni chapter and stay involved in the life of your alma mater.  Visit us online and keep us up-to-date by submitting a class note.


CNU Photos
To share our campus spirit with you, each newsletter includes a link to a photo gallery featuring images of exciting events from the past month. Enjoy!